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Steve Blake handled plenty of frustration during weeklong absence from chickenpox

It took only a few sprints up and down to court to make Lakers guard Steve Blake quickly realize what remaining sidelined for the past week because of chickenpox did to his conditioning.

Still, it was good enough for the Lakers to expect he'll return to play Game 2 on Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets after staying home the past week because of chickenpox,with Coach Phil Jackson saying, "He was right back on the level we want him to play." It also, of course, beats what Blake faced last week, making questions such as the following pretty insignificant: what he made of the Lakers'  109-100  loss  Sunday to New Orleans in Game 1 ("I'd rather not get into it"), how he can help the team limit Hornets guard Chris Paul ("It's not point guard defense; it's always been team defense") and how many minutes he can play ("That's up to Coach"). There were more pressing concerns, such as how Blake contracted a disease that mostly afflicts children.

 "I have no idea. It's not like I went up to someone and shook someone's hands and they had spots all over them," Blake said. "You just don't know how you get something like that."

That's what prompted Lakers officials to make sure everyone was vaccinated and took immunity tests to make sure no one else caught the disease. The Lakers had initially thought Kobe BryantRon Artest and Andrew Bynum hadn't had the disease, though Bryant and Artest later told reporters they've had vaccinations, and immunity tests revealed no one else was infected. Still, that didn't stop some fans from publicly issuing meanspirited statements to the Twitter account of Blake's wife, Kristen, should other Lakers contract the disease. "I'm just relieved he is well and avoided all the serious complications that go along with adult chickenpox," Kristen Blake tweeted. "Praise God. :)"

There were other frustrations, with Blake saying the hardest part entailed not being able to touch his 8-month-old son because he's not vaccinated and minimizing contact with his other two sons, Nicholas and Jamison, for precautionary reasons. He rested plenty, took antibiotics and even had oatmeal baths, with the first two approaches aimed at increasing his energy level and the latter intended to alleviate his itching. And of course, there was basketball. His activity was solely limited to reviewing game tape  that Jackson dropped off at his home, a gesture Blake said "shows how he cares about his players," but it surely didn't replace the actual experience of being on the court.  

That itch to play still made Blake cautious about his return. Before Monday's practice he visited a doctor just to confirm that no effects remained from the illness and that it was no longer contagious. Now that that's no longer the case, Blake's ready to return even if the speed of the game currently feels overwhelming.

"It was tough, man," Blake said. "You're with the team the whole year and then as soon as the playoffs start, you have to be away from everybody and be by yourself and stuck in my room and can't even touch my kids for the most part. That was hard for me, that aspect. but I knew there was hope i'd be coming back at that some point."

-- Mark Medina

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@TOM DANIELS … “Pau has to operate in the low post. With Drew’s emergence Pau/the Lakers have decided he should stand 15 feet out and hit open jumpers. Not entirely a bad idea. Except it takes him out of rebounding positioning AND gets him out of the fray, he doesn’t get into the intensity and physicality of the game.”

Excellent points, Tom. The Lakers defensive game plan obviously calls for Drew to stay near the rim to intimidate, change, and block shots and dominate the boards. And that makes perfect sense since Drew is the biggest, longest, and toughest of the Lakers big men as well as the slowest. The issue of whether the Lakers are a better team with Pau at center has long been settled without question.

When Drew is in the game and posting up, balanced floor spacing in the Triangle Offense will put Pau on the opposite low block or pinch post. In fact, his cuts in and out should involve those two positions. Thus when Pau receives the ball, he is facing the basket, giving him options to pull up and shoot or put the ball on the floor and drive. And that is good because that takes advantage of Pau’s strengths.

The problem comes when Pau just stands there because his man can then double down or under Drew. Drew is no longer a black hole where ball and player movement ceases the minute he catches the ball. He now realizes that the ball can’t stop because that is usually followed by the players stopping. Thus, Drew is now looking for cutters and open shooters as much as he is looking for his own shot.

Yesterday when Drew had the ball down low, Pau just stood there instead of cutting to get position in the low post or popping up from the opposite low post to get a easy jumper. Combine that with Kobe having to pick up the scoring slack due to Pau’s and Lamar’s no shows and you get what we saw against the Hornets yesterday – a stale, poorly balanced, inefficient, one-on-one offense with few assists.

My other issue is that Pau played center for almost half the game without Drew because of the latter’s foul difficulties. Pau had plenty of opportunities to post up down low but opted again to float on the perimeter and, when challenged even by a mediocre defender, to settle for an unconfident midrange jumper, which is a sign of some serious personal issues or a lack of competitive fire and resolve.

Bottom line, my take is that Pau’s problems are not related to any change in his role. They reflect some dissatisfaction with the team or issue in his personal life. This not showing up for the start of the playoffs literally as well as emotionally has me worried more than any other Lakers issue at this time. Yes, it was only one game but any fool can see the pattern and the deteriorated play like I can.
………………………………………………….
TOM

@TOM DANIELS … “Pau has to operate in the low post. With Drew’s emergence Pau/the Lakers have decided he should stand 15 feet out and hit open jumpers. Not entirely a bad idea. Except it takes him out of rebounding positioning AND gets him out of the fray, he doesn’t get into the intensity and physicality of the game.”

Excellent points, Tom. The Lakers defensive game plan obviously calls for Drew to stay near the rim to intimidate, change, and block shots and dominate the boards. And that makes perfect sense since Drew is the biggest, longest, and toughest of the Lakers big men as well as the slowest. The issue of whether the Lakers are a better team with Pau at center has long been settled without question.

When Drew is in the game and posting up, balanced floor spacing in the Triangle Offense will put Pau on the opposite low block or pinch post. In fact, his cuts in and out should involve those two positions. Thus when Pau receives the ball, he is facing the basket, giving him options to pull up and shoot or put the ball on the floor and drive. And that is good because that takes advantage of Pau’s strengths.

The problem comes when Pau just stands there because his man can then double down or under Drew. Drew is no longer a black hole where ball and player movement ceases the minute he catches the ball. He now realizes that the ball can’t stop because that is usually followed by the players stopping. Thus, Drew is now looking for cutters and open shooters as much as he is looking for his own shot.

Yesterday when Drew had the ball down low, Pau just stood there instead of cutting to get position in the low post or popping up from the opposite low post to get a easy jumper. Combine that with Kobe having to pick up the scoring slack due to Pau’s and Lamar’s no shows and you get what we saw against the Hornets yesterday – a stale, poorly balanced, inefficient, one-on-one offense with few assists.

My other issue is that Pau played center for almost half the game without Drew because of the latter’s foul difficulties. Pau had plenty of opportunities to post up down low but opted again to float on the perimeter and, when challenged even by a mediocre defender, to settle for an unconfident midrange jumper, which is a sign of some serious personal issues or a lack of competitive fire and resolve.

Bottom line, my take is that Pau’s problems are not related to any change in his role. They reflect some dissatisfaction with the team or issue in his personal life. This not showing up for the start of the playoffs literally as well as emotionally has me worried more than any other Lakers issue at this time. Yes, it was only one game but any fool can see the pattern and the deteriorated play like I can.
………………………………………………….
TOM


@BAKO… No sweat. I like Pau, too, but I fear something’s going on right now that is impacting how he is playing. It’s something that has been lingering all season. Oddly, Ricky – Pau’s personal troll from Spain – may be onto something when he surmised that Pau has lost his desire to be a champion. It kind of makes sense because Pau is nowhere near as consumed by basketball as Kobe and others are. It was and is not his only way of making his mark in life. He might be tiring of what is really a game.

Anyway, let me make a distinction that I think is important and which I may at times forget myself. Soft in my opinion is really slang for the adverb “softly” as in “he played softly.” To me, it’s really not an adjective that describes a person. The adjective that relates to soft is my opinion is “finesse” as in “Pau’s a finesse player.” Pau is thus a finesse player (as opposed to power player) who will often play soft (as opposed to tough) when he has a physical matchup. Thus, I don’t think Pau is a soft player but push come to shove, he is a finesse player who can be taken out of his game with physicality.

That’s what I think about Pau. I still believe in him and would not look to trade him but I also am not blind to the fact that his zeal for the game has never been what I like. Kobe and Phil and a chance for the Lakers has helped change that but there will come a time I think when Pau will easily hang ‘em up whereas you will have to drag Kobe off the hardwood in my opinion. Ironically, Kobe and Pau may represent the end to the spectrum of players obsession with the game and winning championships.
………………………………………………….
TOM


Do we really want Steve Blake back? We already have a PG who can't create his own shot, who can't defend, who can't shoot.

Trade fodder for next year (perhaps midyear like Melo):

Lakers have Team Option on Odom ($8M) and Bynum ($16M) for the 2012-13 season. Paul ($17M) and Howard ($19 M) and D-Williams ($18M) have Player Option.

Pau can be traded ($19M).

Could have a Lineup of:

Bryant
Paul or Williams via trade for Pau
Howard via trade for Bynum
Odom pick up Team Option
Artest

Fisher
Barnes
Blake
Brown
Ebanks
Caracter
Walton

NOTE: Remember that guys with Player Option control most of their destiny, as did Melo. Melo went exactly where he wanted to go. Howard, Paul and Williams can do the same.


@DEREK JETER … Did your agent get a hold of you? The Yankees just traded you to the Marlins for Hanley Ramirez LOL. Guess you did not hear what Mitch Kupchak said about trading Drew for Dwight Howard.
………………………………………………….
TOM

Are you seriously talking trades for a 2 time defending champion team after only game 1 of the playoffs. This is a chicken little blog for sure! Stop panicking!
We got this!

don't know how can anybody watching the Lakers playing defense, especially against the pick-n-roll and NOT come to the conclusion that it is one of the WORST-COACHED teams in basketball. The players for the most parts look CLUELESS and sometimes downright MORONIC.

Time and time again I was apalled how EASY it was for NO to dictate Lakers defense, namely making Pau Gasol guarding CP3. Sure it started with a high screen but why on earth did Derek Fisher not ever try to SCAMPER or SCURRY back as soon as possible to switch back with Pau?

And is anybody else also tired of the Fisher-futilely-fighting-through-screen act? God gave him two legs so he can RUN around the screen, either over it or under it. Why does he always insist on running smack onto the screen, which usually involve a player at least 6 inch taller and 50 lbs heavier, and try to move this immovable screen out of the way? Downright asinine...

I can't wait for Jeff Van Gundy, who happened to share my view regarding Lakers defense, especially Fisher's to take over.

Now there is a REAL coach who is SMART for real and knows basketball -that is the TRADITIONAL PROVEN way to coach and play basketball!

Posted by: Psycorp | April 18, 2011 at 05:41 PM
=====

Classic. Here's what I think of those brilliant comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpB3ME_Xem0

The poor dude is sick, and he gets death threats via his wife's twitter account?

Is this some of that L.A. class you're always raving about making its appearance?

Those particular Laker fans must also be Dodger fans.

Not safe at Dodger Stadium!
The people are animals there.
Just bare witness to recent events.
It's sickening.

Go Kings!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sonnybelfast

Dodger fans/Lakerfans
Six of one, half dozen...

Go SF Giants!
Go Sacramento Kings!
Go SF Forty Niners!

Sonnybelfast

Sonny - go Kings? When did you become a hockey fan?

welcome back Blake,hope you can cotribute to help stoping that Hornet bench from killing us again.I really don't think we'll get that kind of out put from the Hornets bench again,cause i believe it was an admiration.

Go Lakers!

LRob, at times Shannon was Shannon and at other times he resembled Shannon Daugherty on the floor...

Posted by: The Triangulator | April 18, 2011 at 05:27 PM
-----------------------------
You're a tough critic. He was 4-6 from the floor. In 13 minutes he made as many shots as any Laker not named Kobe.

TOM,

Say it ain't so! Ha, ha, ha, just trade fodder, food for thought. If I were the Yankees, however, I'd make that trade, ha, ha.

Sonny - go Kings? When did you become a hockey fan?

Posted by: justanothermambafan | April 18, 2011 at 07:24 PM

Actually, I love MMA and Boxing.
I once went to what I thought was going to be fight night,
and a hockey game broke out.

But hey sweetheart, glad you're back.
Your poor-old-little-girl of a team is going to need
you unflinching rah-rah type of support soon enough.

As for the Kings...let's just say that they are still
in Sacramento. I have no ties to Sacramento,
Kings/Royals, whatever, still and always my team,
but it is awfully nice that you would honor
the great Kings, and NBA fans in that area.

This is the type of consideration and behavior that
NBA fans across America know and expect
from the dolts of Faker nation.

But I wouldn't get too smug if I were you.
You never know what could befall you in your own backyard...
just never know.

How's that Los Angeles NFL team looking for next season.
Did you get that QB you needed?

Go Sacramento Kings!
Go San Francisco Forty Niners!
Go Seattle Sonics!

Sonnybelfast


where is fish when you need him i dont know what to think
when ever you try to substitute one idiot with another
you are bound to make a serious mistake you should trust
your team mate.bench fish because he cant help the team he
is to slow cant shoot cant guard anybody.

LRob, it was on the defensive end I had my problems with him. I was happy he didn't try to bury 3 after 3 after 3. He did fine offensively, but stats don't show the entire picture. I wouldn't put him in the doghouse with Pau and Odom, but I wouldn't put him in the category of leaving it all on the floor either.

"IT'S THE PLAYOFFS, NOT THE LAYOFFS!"

i think it is not a fixable problem. as un fortunate as it is there simply isnt enough time for it to be resolved. heres why. first off gasol doesnt want to play in the american(nba) anymore. he isnt used to being attacked by classless athletes that dont have nearly the skill and talent as him. he doesnt understand it. in europe people respect each other. here its trash talk and intimidation. perkins and all the other babboons that have attacked him publicly use intimidation to make up for thier lack of talent. gasol simply isnt that way and he cant deal with it. its obvious. as much as kobe and the rest of the team has tried. he just cant do it. next is bynum, he isnt a consistant threat and is very soft. he doesnt have the mental toughness along with the physical . next is desire, see artest is mentaly unstable, meaning he is terrified of phil and kobe, he is bi-polar and is nervous and afraid of failing his team, it is effecting his defensive greatness. now i know it all seems like excuses, but its the truth, that is why if we get past the hornets, we will likely be an early out to our next opponents. i love the lakers but i know when its over, i have been a fan for 28 yrs and i know my team. they are not together and that is fatal. so now my solution.( you all are gonna hate this one). first you TRUE lakers fans need to ask yourselfs if you are laker fans or kobe fans. there is a huge difference. i love kobe and what he has done for the show, to me he is the greatest laker and maybe player in the history of our world. but we have to trade him, he still has 3-4 good yrs left and we can get a country for him, he is high value and we need that for d.howard. pau and bynum go as well. chris paul will join howard and we win within the next yr. we keep artest, his defense is pricless( when he isnt timid), odom stays as well, he is and should hav e been our starting pf. we keep brown, blake , and barnes and walton are gone. its time lakeshow, it is hard to accept but we as a family have to move on, the hardest thing sports wise in my life was losing magic, was devastated, but we regrouped as we will now.

Sonny... our pet troll.... you have a problem with my 'rah rah' kind of enthusiasm and support for the Lakers? At least it's directed at a team that has done something, is doing something and will do something again. Not like your pitiful team who are perennial losers.... I don't have the energy to spew any vitriol in your general direction, but I will give you my condolences for being blinded to the fact that the teams you cheer for are not really teams at all. They just take up space.

These other playoff teams have stars coming off their bench, and they are very deep, ala` the Bulls. We look lame in comparison. Are you watching now, see what I mesn.

LRob, it was on the defensive end I had my problems with him. I was happy he didn't try to bury 3 after 3 after 3. He did fine offensively, but stats don't show the entire picture. I wouldn't put him in the doghouse with Pau and Odom, but I wouldn't put him in the category of leaving it all on the floor either.

Posted by: The Triangulator | April 18, 2011 at 08:19 PM
----------------------------------

Tri - I agree his defense was subpar, but I would say the same about the whole team. Even Ron wasn't his ususal self. 52% shooting and only 3 turnovers says it all.

Well, the Ls sure know how to make things a lil more interesting...don't they?(LOL) No worries tho', I'm sure we'll see a much better effort next game.

~

@D(erek)J(eter):Agreed, NBA refs are the worst in sports...and that's saying something.(LOL)

~

@LRob:Wow,I can't believe you weren't all into 'Mandrill' back in da day.(LOL) The good thing is, they have a pretty nice catalogue of work for you to 'research'.:-)

~

For today's musical contribution, Imma stick with an 'old skool' group that I've always liked a lot...enjoy!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbsz7nVTHoE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjL2xMdwCVQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir4g8Ax3OoQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIbvMjz3IHI

~


Let's go Ls...all the way to a 3-peat!!!!!

Refs two awful calls against Pacers is gonna give Bulls the win. NBA Refs worst in Pro Sports!

What the heck is Darth Stern up to?

These ghost fouls on Indiana are maddening.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

LRob, they were all flat-footed to a certain extent, but that happens when a few players (Pau and Odom) started the trend. It becomes contagious.

Well, actually the others become off-balanced because they aren't sure if Pau and LO have their backs. And so, instead of being on the balls of their feet, their on their heels and off-balance. In remembrance, here's a 'lil ditty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UFbvykDMd0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

"IT'S THE PLAYOFFS, NOT THE LAYOFFS!"

No Justa,

I'm always happy when Faker fans insist on talking about
the Sacramento Kings on the Los Angelese Times Laker board.
The truth of the matter is, I rather admire the type of fan that you are.
Your girls are going to need you soon enough,
and it looks like you made it back just in time!
But keep in mind that you are welcome
on the Kings side any time you wish to come out.

The problem is...so typically, is that you are stuck in the sewer pipe,
which is L.A. and general vicinity, and don't even know it...stuck!
And you love it! Go figure. That's what happens when you get that
poison into your system I guess.

You actually believe that what your old guys and girls
(we'll let you decide who is what)
have "done" is somehow worthy of praise. Really. It's simply amazing!
(Heck, your little cast of Hollywood reality stars should be caned
when they don't "do something". How can they not win?)

In the big picture though, it all actually makes a lot of sense.
As one famous Southern Californian put it:
No sense, makes sense.

As a distant third to baseball, the NBA is far from America's
favorite MLS. Insomuch as you don't
(and probably won't anytime in the near future)
have a real football team
(even your college program cheats)
it seems only fitting that you would have a champion in some sport,
any sport, no matter how it was obtained.
How one wins seems not to be a consideration to the L.A. types.

Be that as it may, I'm curious.

Are you a Dodger black-and-blue fan?
That's a nice bunch for sure.

Go Kings!
Go San Francisco Giants! (uh hum, World Champs)
Go San Francisco Forty Niners (Have never lost a Superbowl)

Sonnybelfast


I think it would be a fitting gesture if Saint Cryant shined Lebron's shoes,
don't you?

Go Kings!

Sonnybelfast

Oh, by the way, only, only because of Paula did you win the last couple of championships. (Gee, how did you get him on your team?)

Weak minded bunch here.

Go Kings!

Sonnybefast

I know, I know, it doesn't matter how you got him.
What do you play for?

Sonnybelfast

Posted by: Sonnybelfast | April 18, 2011 at 09:45 PM

Exhibit A of a life filled with hate and bitterness. Kids, this is how you avoid being successful in life.

Posted by: Sonnybelfast | April 18, 2011 at 09:45 PM

Exhibit A of a life filled with hate and bitterness. Kids, this is how you avoid being successful in life.

Posted by: EJK | April 18, 2011 at 10:09 PM

Exhibit B of a life filled with arrogance, self-indulgence, and presumption.
Kids, this is what it means to be a Laker fan, and how to really be a success in life.

Go Kings!

Sonnybelfast

Go Kings!

Sonnybelfast
-----------------

You mean Anaheim Royals!

Chicken Poxs do affects everyone for your information including adults,so dont say its only children that ketches chicken pox,i was 24 years of age when i catch chicken pox and it normally last for a week or two,its a spreading disease which is contracted by touch,touching anything that was in contact with a person with the disease a pserson can get affected it could be the railing,a glass anything that was in contact with the affeceted person.

@Justa.....great to have fiesty Juata back, sticking it to the TROLLS like NO one else can!!! Hope you're doing well and ready for the long run to our 17th banner. Oh yeah, how many banners do the Kings have? Oh yeah, conference winners,WHOOPIE!!! So happy to have Steve back , but also hope they keep Trey too!

Sonny, you truly are in love with the Lakers aren't you? You speak of them more than you do your Queens, oh my bad, "Kings" crownless Kings might I add. Why don't you stop trying to win troll of the year, an award I'm sure everyone here agrees you won with probably your first post. All you do is constantly repeat yourself, Kobe this, Laker conspiracy this, the league loves the Lakers, blah blah blah, quit your crying and go buy that Black Mamba jersey you've had on law-away for a few weeks now.

Now, as far as Blake is concerned, I'm just glad to have him back in the line-up. I personally am a Blake fan and know the dude has mad PG potential. Lately he's been showing good court vision, enough to excuse the fact that he backs down from open shots more often than he should. Game 2 tomorrow, I have more than enough faith that OUR Lakers are going to dominate.

LAKERS ALL DAY, EVERYDAY!

P.S. Sonny, quit hanging around L.A. Live hoping to get an autograph by Kobe, he laughs at your posts too.

THE MAMBA STRIKES AGAIN!!!!

ISH

Sonnybelfast,

The only Kings that exist now are the Los Angeles Kings... so GO KINGS!!!

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.

GO LAKERS!!!

Hell yeah, Go LA Kings and Lakers!

Bad game 1 for us, but I know the team will fix it.
Do people really believe the NO bench can continue to score like that every game?
They're bench players for a reason.

Pau and others will respond and the Lakers will win.

Hey Sonny Blogfart...West Hollywood is building that stadium/spa complex for you and you're Queens. Peep show suits, cow bell bar, losers lounge, you know, all the good stuff! Heck, I'd support the Queens if they weren't such losers and Sacramento wasn't such a bung hole of a city.


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